What to Ask Your Real Estate Agent at an Open House
Getting ready to hit some house showings? Here’s what every homebuyer should ask their real estate agent to get the complete picture.
What Issues May Not be Apparent to the Eye?
Let’s say the house looks great. Now’s the time to ask about any potential issues the house has had, and any testing that’s been done. They will also help you set up a home inspection to ensure all answers are uncovered. Here are the important ones you want to know about, especially if the home was built before 1978:
- Lead paint
A few other questions that could save you time and trouble down the road:
- What’s the flood zoning of the home (and has it flooded before)?
- How old are the roof, furnace, and major appliances?
- What are the average utility costs monthly/annually?
- Have any major renovations been done on the home?
The answers you get are crucial — not only to decide whether you want the home, but because it can affect whatever offer you might make. Plus, if the appliances are starting to show their age, or the utilities are high, you’ll need to budget for bills and repairs months, even years, down the road.
What’s the Neighborhood Like?
You can’t put a price on safety — and convenience comes a close second. While a listing agent might not have data on specific issues, they should be able to direct you to websites where you can check up on the quality of the local schools and crime rates. The agent should also be able to tell you about restaurants, parks, shopping, and more in the area — although nothing beats a little casual drive around the immediate area to see for yourself. Being able to walk to nearby attractions is never a bad thing.
A Little Persistence Pays Off
Whether it’s your first house viewing or last, it’s important to understand what questions to ask at an open house. As long as you’re genuine and polite, a listing agent should be forthcoming and transparent. Try to have your real estate agent there whenever possible to provide an extra layer of expertise and knowledge.
Before you start attending open houses, get pre-approved with a local mortgage broker first.